They're in plastic Ziploc bags spread out across the dining room table in Dai Dayton's
They once belonged to a white tailed deer - and there are a lot of them - each bag labeled in black Sharpie with a best guess estimate of what part of the animal they are from.
Dayton is vice president of Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt and the deer skeleton is from Vineyard Field, the grassland area behind the South Fork Natural History Society that the Friends have been working to restore for many years.
The skeleton was found there a few seasons back, lying undisturbed under a large birch tree.
"It had just laid down and died," recalls Dayton
who's not sure what killed the deer.
The scapula is shattered, so she
speculates the animal could have been hit by a car or even with an arrow, though none was found nearby.
doesn't know the age of the deer, or if it was a male or female.
What is noteworthy, however, is the fact that the bones were picked clean and the skeleton was still largely intact.
"Usually the chipmunks eat the bones," she
Because the skeleton was in such good shape, Dayton
got the idea to reassemble it as a museum display for Southampton Town's
Long Pond Greenbelt Nature Center up the road.
"It was so cool, and I thought, wouldn't it be a great project for a school?"
gathered the bones and took them to the Hayground School
where a teacher thought it would be a great project for the students.
"It stayed there for a year, not touched," says Dayton
took the skeleton to Sag Harbor Elementary School
where another teacher thought it would be a great project for the students.
"And it sat there for another year without being touched," adds Dayton
decided to do it herself and rallied other members of FLPG to join the effort.
They found a book online that detailed how to put moose bones together, and Dayton
pulled out her
old anatomy books from animal husbandry courses she
hosted a small work party - sort of akin to a quilting bee.
"We should be doing it once a week, but after that last episode I haven't got the guts," says Dayton
"No one called me to say 'I had so much fun, let's do it again."
But the bags of bones are still there, just waiting for the right person to put them back together again.
"There are all these tiny little bones," says Dayton
is optimistic someone out there has the time and energy and is just waiting for a project like this.